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Comics 101
The latest art tips and techniques, reviews and interviews from my studio. Updated here and at World Famous Comics!

Comics 101 Archives

Comics 101 for 03/24/2005
Advice on Digital Coloring, Starting Comic Strips and the Origin of Kai Justiss
Hey Joe,

Let me just say as a long time comic fan, I'm very impressed with all of your work, specifically the Crimson Dynamo series you did for Marvel. Wow! I've bookmarked your site and still go back to it often for inspiration. You are a true professional.

Regarding that, I have a question for you. I'm an aspiring colorist and have always had a hard time finding a color palette that isn't going to print too dark when it's ready to be offset printed. Do you have any recommendations as to were to start, or even some Photoshop swatch samples or secrets you could share with me? I know it takes years of hard work and determination to get where you are in your craft, but what would you recommend for someone who's maybe self-publishing their own book and wants solid, dependable color?

Thanks in advance for your time and patience. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely,
Anthony Rezendes
Hi Anthony,

Thanks for enjoying my work, especially my Crimson Dynamo series for Marvel Comics. That series was a lot of fun to draw for me since it was refreshing to take a departure from my more realistic style I often use in my Star Wars work. And I'm really flattered you enjoy my website so much and can find my work inspiring for you.

In regards to your coloring question, the best advice I can give is calibrate your monitor as precisely as possible to take advantage of the truest color you can possibly get from your printed work. Though every printer has it's own settings as well so you'll end up getting differences depending on where you output your work from.

I usually work in RGB mode in Photoshop to make sure the digital colors I choose will match the output colors as closely as possible. You'll get closer, truer color in RGB mode when you print than you will when working in CMYK mode. Though often times it's necessary to switch to CMYK when the artwork is completed to make it compatible for printing in the four color process most print companies use.

Though it's not always the case sometimes it's necessary for me to adjust my colors (Image>Adjust>Color Balance) in my menu bar for Photoshop or even adjust my levels (Image>Adjust>Levels) as well. Sometimes choosing the Auto Adjust function for colors or levels will help as well. Another tactic I usually try to keep in mind when creating my digital color work is to automatically compensate for a bout a 20% increase in value darkness when I plan on seeing the work printed. So when wanting to paint with a middle value red at 50% for example I might actually slide the color picker down to a 30%-40% red instead.

I hope this advice helps and good luck with your work!
Hi Joe,

I have had interest in creating a comic strip for quite a while now (not a comic book which I know is your strength). I have checked into CCAD for continuing education and accredited classes. The honest problem is that I do not have the artistic skills to draw. I have the idea for the characters, personalities, and the words they would be saying. Actually, I have been doing this for about 2 years now and just started writing them down as they come to me.This is COMPLETELY new turf for me and I could use a kick in the behind to push me towards people who can help me get this project started.

My hope is that you can help me with the following -

1) Can you put me in contact with some of the CCAD grads who might be willing to collectively do a comic strip? If you can refer me to them or them to me - I would hope these people would be animal lovers or strong animal drawers since the comic strip I have in mind would be oriented around two dogs as the primary characters. They do the art and I do the characters/words. I have been in business for myself and think I could also do the grueling task of trying to sell it to various newspapers.

2) I have been told the PC to get to house this would be Apple/MAC. But what specific software is best for this process?

3) How can I find out who the artists are in the central Ohio area are who might want to collaborate with me would be?

ANY help would be greatly appreciated ! ! !

Jane Durrett
Hi Jane,

Your best options of finding talent suitable for your needs would be to place a free 'now hiring' ad at ComicBookClassifieds.com. You could also try posting on some of the message boards at the World Famous Comics Community, specifically here or here .

There are also many artist forum websites and blogs out there if you do a little searching where you can peruse samples of artists work which might make your quest for talent more efficient.

I agree that Macs are best suited for graphic design and layout but these days most bitmap programs artists and designers use like Photoshop or Painter are compatible on both PC and Macintosh platforms so you're OK if you've already invested in PC hardware. Since you won't be illustrating though but if you plan on doing the lettering and setting up the layout of your comic strip for printing I'd recommend using some Vector Art programs like FreeHand, Illustrator or especially InDesign which is the simplest of the three to learn.

Wanting to find artists to work with who are local to you is really just a matter of contacting the right schools or art colleges, like CCAD, and requesting to post a job offer in their weekly newsletter that students and alumni usually receive. You could also advertise in the classifieds of your local newspapers as well.

Most grad students will be looking for paying assignments so if you're tight on funds or plan on paying the contributor later once a publishing deal with a newspaper is in place then your best bet is to find an amateur artist, possibly one still in art school looking for their first big break, who are really hungry for work and anxious to be published. I'm not saying you should take advantage of amateur talent but as long as you are up front on what you are offering and you plan on holding up your end of the deal (a contract is always ideal) then you shouldn't have a problem finding an artist talented enough for your specific needs online or elsewhere.

Good luck with your search and with your comic strip venture!
Howdy Joe,

My name is Jesse Justiss from Bellville, TX and was wondering how you came up with the character name Kai Justiss. After running a search engine on Justiss. I have found 2 fictional characters using the name Justiss, one harlequin romance novel actually uses Jesse Justiss! Now I am very curious.

Hope you have time to reply and thank you in advance.
Jesse E. Justiss III
Hi Jesse,

The name for my Expanded Universe Jedi Knight character "Kai Justiss" was thought up by my pal Justin of World Famous Comics and myself. Justin thought "Kai" would make a great first name and I agreed.

I came up with "Justiss" because I wanted it to be derivative of Justin's name since the character is based on his likeness. Also, Justin has a Chinese middle name which translates to "justice" in English. So I thought, "Hmmm... Justin... Justice... how about Justiss? Kai Justiss?" I figured spelling "Justice" with an "iss" ending gave it the Star Wars look and flavor. Justin liked the idea and the rest, as you may have guessed, is history. We had no idea Justiss was a real surname.

Best regards, Jesse!

See you next week for another Comics 101 feature!

Joe

<< 03/03/2005 | 03/24/2005 | 04/07/2005 >>

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